To Save A Space Station: The Unrealized Rescue of Skylab, 40 Years On

The engines of the Teleoperator Retrieval System (TRS), seen docked to Skylab, perform a lengthy “burn” to either deliver the old space station into a higher, more stable orbit or to prepare it for a controlled, destructive re-entry. Image Credit: NASA

Visiting space stations is, and always has been, a complex and challenging endeavor; […]

'Stronger Than Required': Remembering Skylab's End, 40 Years On

One of the final views of Skylab in orbit, as seen directly by human eyes, during the departure of the third crew in February 1974. The station, which began its slow descent back to Earth 40 years ago, this summer, was the largest single object ever launched into space. Photo Credit: NASA

Forty years […]

Sampling the Moon: Remembering the Lost Moonwalks of Apollo 13 (Part 2)

Jim Lovell and Fred Haise participate in lunar surface training in February 1970. Their target was the Moon’s Fra Mauro foothills. Photo Credit: NASA

In an alternate universe, Jim Lovell and Fred Haise should have been the fifth and sixth sons of humanity to have walked the surface of an alien world. In […]

Sampling the Moon: Remembering the Lost Moonwalks of Apollo 13 (Part 1)

Artist’s concept of Apollo 13 astronauts Jim Lovell and Fred Haise exploring Fra Mauro. The Lunar Module (LM) Aquarius is visible in the background. Their lost surface explorations subsequently passed to Apollo 14 crewmen Al Shepard and Ed Mitchell. Image Credit: Teledyne Brown

Had the cruelty of fate not intervened, almost a half-century […]

'To Fly the First One': 40 Years Since the First Space Shuttle Crews

In March 1978, a “pool” of crew members were announced for the first four Orbital Flight Tests (OFTs) of the shuttle. At their initial press conference (from left) are Gordon Fullerton, Vance Brand, Jack Lousma, Fred Haise, Richard Truly, Joe Engle, Robert Crippen and John Young. Photo Credit: NASA

In the coming months, […]

'Thanks for the Lift': 40 Years Since Enterprise Took Free-Flight

Enterprise’s flights, 40 years ago, laid the groundwork for the Free Flights and eventually the maiden Space Shuttle mission. Photo Credit: NASA

They gathered in their thousands—65,000, in fact—at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., in the cool, pre-dawn hours of Friday, 12 August 1977, to witness America’s first Space Shuttle take flight and […]

'Magic Carpet Ride': 40 Years Since Enterprise Took the Space Shuttle to Altitude (Part 2)

Enterprise’s Captive-Active flights, which began 40 years ago, this month, laid the groundwork for the Free Flights and eventually the maiden Space Shuttle mission. Photo Credit: NASA

The Approach and Landing Test (ALT) series of the Space Shuttle, which began 40 years ago, in the summer of 1977, were “just that”, in the […]

'In a Real Flight Environment': 40 Years Since Enterprise Took the Space Shuttle to Altitude (Part 1)

Flying Enterprise for her test flights were (from left) Gordon Fullerton, Fred Haise, Joe Engle and Dick Truly. Photo Credit: NASA

Four decades ago, this summer, a shuttle (though not a “space” shuttle) took to the skies above Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., to show the world what she could do. Outwardly, Orbiter […]

'Better Than Any Simulation': 40 Years Since Enterprise Took the Shuttle From Ground to Air (Part 2)

Boasting the aerodynamic tail cone for four of the independent flights, Enterprise demonstrated the capabilities of the space shuttle in the low atmosphere. Photo Credit: NASA

Forty years ago, this fall, the first member of NASA’s space shuttle fleet was structurally complete and well on the way toward her first mission. Yet unlike […]

'In A Real Flight Environment': 40 Years Since Enterprise Took the Shuttle From Ground to Air (Part 1)

NASA’s Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) is pictured here with Shuttle Enterprise during the first of the shuttle program’s Approach and Landing Tests (ALT) at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., in summer 1977. Photo Credit: NASA

When we think of the space shuttle, we think of the five spaceworthy orbiter vehicles—Columbia, Challenger, […]